The Battle of Prenuptial Agreements: A Closer Look at Kevin Costner’s High-Profile Divorce

Request a Consultation

Divorce is often complex and emotionally charged, especially when famous, high-net-worth individuals are involved. Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as “prenups,” are legal contracts that can help protect the assets and interests of both parties in the event of a divorce. These agreements are intended to clarify and avoid lengthy disputes over property division. However, even with an iron-clad prenup, conflicts can arise, as seen in the high-profile divorce case of Hollywood A-lister Kevin Costner.

Renowned for his celebrated acting career and countless accolades, Costner finds himself at the center of a heated conflict with his wife after 18 years of marriage. Despite having a prenuptial agreement, his estranged spouse, Christine Baumgartner, has refused to move out of the couple’s shared home.

According to media reports, court documents state Costner said that per their prenuptial agreement, Baumgartner had 30 days to leave the house owned by the actor after filing for divorce. Since Baumgartner filed on May 1, that deadline has passed, and she is still at the property. People Magazine reported that a lawyer for Baumgartner says the request for order (RFO) previously filed by Costner “seeks to kick Christine and their three children out of the house that the children have lived in for their entire lives.”

This situation has raised important questions about the validity and enforceability of prenuptial agreements and the subsequent legal implications.

As this bitter divorce battle plays out in the tabloids, it’s also shedding light on the complexities surrounding prenuptial agreements, even when they are seemingly iron-clad. While prenups are intended to provide a clear framework for property division and protect the interests of both parties, challenges can arise during divorce proceedings. The outcome of this celebrity divorce will serve as a reminder that the enforceability of prenuptial agreements is subject to legal scrutiny and that courts play a crucial role in determining the validity of such contracts.

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document signed by both parties before entering into a marriage or civil partnership. It typically outlines how the couple’s assets, debts, and other financial matters would be divided in the event of a divorce or separation. These agreements can also cover spousal support, property distribution, and inheritance rights. Prenups are especially common in cases where one or both parties possess significant wealth, providing protection and certainty. Working with an attorney experienced in prenuptial agreements can help ensure their validity.

Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are generally considered enforceable legal documents, subject to certain conditions. Courts may invalidate a prenup if it is proven to be unconscionable, fraudulent, or entered into under duress. Additionally, it may be deemed unenforceable if the agreement fails to meet the legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which it was executed.

Challenges to Enforceability

In the case of Kevin Costner and his estranged wife, Baumgartner’s refusal to abide by the prenuptial agreement by refusing to move out of the couple’s shared home, there are several potential reasons for her actions. Baumgartner’s legal team may be challenging the enforceability of the prenup by claiming that it was signed under duress or that she was coerced into agreeing to specific provisions. Alternatively, they may argue that the agreement is unconscionable, suggesting it unfairly favors one party.

Resolution and Legal Recourse

When one spouse disregards an iron-clad prenuptial agreement, the aggrieved party can seek legal recourse through the court system. The court would then examine the agreement’s validity and assess the merits of the claims made by both parties. In this case, Costner’s legal team will likely present evidence to establish the validity and fairness of the prenuptial agreement. It will be up to the court to determine whether Baumgartner’s refusal to comply with the terms of the agreement is justified or whether appropriate legal action should be taken.

At SFLG, our team has a wealth of experience in competently and thoroughly addressing complex financial issues, including business and corporate interests, pensions and retirement plans, stock portfolios, and real estate. We offer knowledgeable and thorough advice to clients who wish to negotiate a Premarital Agreement. Our expertise in complex financial matters ensures we diligently verify both parties’ assets and debts and draft agreements that best protect our client’s rights and interests.

By Debra Schoenberg

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
Arrow Image
10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
Arrow Image